A couple of weekends ago (I am SERIOUSLY behind on my blog posts – I’ve got an exhibition review from about two weeks ago waiting to be written up as well… sigh…), I had decided that a good place to start with my new cleaner-greener-living would be the way we buy our food each week. Living outside of London, and in a small South Coast town quite a way away from any services of any ecological value, means that popping down to the whole-food shop on the corner isn’t an option – because there simply isn’t one. I thought about going to the local farm shop, but although we’re technically in farm country down here in Hampshire, we’re still a good forty minute drive from any farm shops – which then leads to the question of whether it’s counter-productive to use a shed-load of petrol and bump up our carbon footprint just to get to some vegetables that are grown locally. In the end, we decided to go to our closest farmers market (Petersfield – about fifteen minutes away by car), as a happy compromise, where we would buy anything grown locally, and then get the rest from Asda (I know, boo hiss, but eco-living is all about compromise, and doing your best to make a difference….). As we drove into Petersfield (after passing the most amazing looking field of rapeseed), strapped to the roundabout was a humungous sign informing us that the Festival Hall was hosting a Save the Children half price sale for three days only – I was so excited, I practically grabbed the steering wheel and drove us there myself.
I am a complete charity shop addict, and very rarely buy any new clothes, and am also building a collection to start a vintage and pre-loved online shop (more details coming soon, procrastination is another hobby…), so this was like a designer-addict seeing a sign for a Chanel sample sale. Entry was free, and walking into the main room was like walking into the biggest charity shop you can ever imagine. Rows and rows of rails, separated first into sex, and then into garment style and size – I felt like a child in a sweet shop, spoilt for choice and not really sure where to begin.I came away with the cream of the crop, or so I thought – a couple of dresses, a shirt for the Husband, some shorts, a blouse with the most wonderful cutout lace collar, and probably the most amazing hat I have ever, ever seen…
I haven’t got the foggiest how to date vintage items (which is why I’ve decided to sell on eBay rather than Etsy to begin with – I’m pretty sure everything I buy to sell is more than twenty years old, but I wouldn’t like to make claims that I can’t prove), but I know this is a felt opera hat, because it was written on the label – the same label that told me it was £4, meaning that it was actually £2 that day. £2 for the greatest hat I have ever, ever seen. Happy days indeed.
The thrifting Gods have been pretty kind to me lately – I’ve now got so many clothes that we’ve had to attach a curtain pole to the wall in our bedroom so I have somewhere to keep the overflow. I suggested a couple of freestanding clothes rails in the lounge, but the Husband didn’t seem too keen on the idea, so our bedroom now looks like some sort of explosion in a charity shop. The other day, while trying to battle his way through four dresses, two blouses and a pair of shorts just to find the handle of the door they were all hanging on, the Husband swore loudly and declared that it was ‘like living in a boutique’. I haven’t got round to photographing all of my latest finds, but here are a few of them to feast your eyes on….
The scarves, belt and floral maxi skirt are all vintage, and all not for sale – the shirt with the embroidery will end up in the shop, however, probably around the £7.00 mark. The floral peter-pan collar tunic is from eBay, and is originally from River Island – I’m not one of those people who ‘only wears vintage’ – my main aim is to reduce the need for new clothes to be manufactured, and to show people how they can make the best of what has already been produced. That’s the other main reason why I can’t sell on Etsy – many things will be simply ‘pre-loved’, rather than vintage.
After a pretty long detour, we did actually make it to the farmers market – and I got some locally grown potatoes (with the mud still on them – wonderful!) and carrots, and a couple of sweet potatoes. We then bought some courgettes, peppers and mushrooms from our local greengrocer (I had completely forgotten about it until I wandered past on my way to yet another charity shop!), and some brocolli, baby corn and beans from Asda (booooo). The greengrocer also had a special offer on raspberries and strawberries (British grown), so we snapped some of those up too. The best dinner of the week was a vegetable curry cooked in the slow-cooker (nothing fancy – two jars of Sharwoods, some stock mixed with curry powder, a tin of tomatoes and a ton of vegetables), followed my strawberries and raspberries with ice cream.
The best thing about the fruit (other than the taste, of course) was that it came packed in recyclable plastic tubs – not quite guilt free, but better than the supermarket packaging with plastic film lids.
PS – If you have any good veggie curry recipes, do leave one in the comment section – I don’t always see myself using jars of ready-made sauce!